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Second-generation talent earns starting nod

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Second-generation talent earns starting nod

A second-generation talent is set to take the field for the first time this season.

19-year-old Caleb Clarke – named MVP at the Brisbane Tens – has recovered fully from appendicitis which ruled him out of the All Black Sevens team at the Commonwealth Games to earn a starting nod on the left wing for his debut.

The side will also welcome back the experience of captain Augustine Pulu, Patrick Tuipulotu and Jerome Kaino to their starting line-up for their Super Rugby match against the Waratahs in Sydney.

Kaino returns after a three-game absence, Tuipulotu missed last weekend’s game through illness, while Pulu appeared off the bench for 30 minutes.

“We have some key players starting to slowly return over the next couple of weeks but it is welcome news to have these three players back, not just with their rugby ability but especially their experience,” said head coach Tana Umaga.

Maori All Black prop Ross Wright earns his first start at loosehead prop after seven games off the bench.

Kaino links with Akira Ioane and Dalton Papalii to form a formidable back row.

Pulu teams with Stephen Perofeta to guide the team while Rieko Ioane and Orbyn Leger are again paired in the midfield.

Replacement Tumua Manu, who has scored in each of his two games, moves to the right wing to allow for the debut of Caleb Clarke.

All Black Matt Duffie, who excelled slotting back to fullback in terrible weather conditions last week, retains his spot.

“It is back to the basics again for us. We need to win our set piece and the collision, hold our discipline, play positively with patience with some go-forward ball, communicate well and defend to plan,” said Umaga.

“We are working hard. Each week we do some things well but one or two things let us down. We know this is a tough test with our young and inexperienced team, but we are ready to put a performance together.”

The match will be played at Brookvale Oval, the home of the Manly Warringah rugby league side, with the Waratah’s home ground of Allianz Stadium unavailable.

BLUES

15. Matt Duffie, 14. Tumua Manu, 13. Orbyn Leger, 12. Rieko Ioane, 11. Caleb Clarke, 10. Stephen Perofeta, 9. Augustine Pulu (C); 8. Akira Ioane, 7. Dalton Papalii, 6. Jerome Kaino, 5. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti, 4. Patrick Tuipulotu, 3. Sione Mafileo, 2. James Parsons, 1. Ross Wright.
Reserves: 16. Matt Moulds, 17. Pauliasi Manu, 18. Mike Tamoaieta, 19. Ben Nee-Nee/Lyndon Dunshea, 20. Murphy Taramai, 21. Jonathan Ruru, 22. Dan Kirkpatrick, 23 Terrence Hepetema.

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Second-generation talent earns starting nod